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Can Earwigs Infest Indoor Potted Plants?

Earwigs, those fascinating and somewhat creepy-looking insects, have long been associated with gardens and outdoor spaces. However, have you ever wondered if these critters can find their way into your indoor potted plants? Surprisingly, the answer is yes! In this article, we will explore the possibility of earwig infestations in indoor potted plants and share some helpful tips on how to prevent and control these unwanted guests. So, let’s dig in and learn how to keep your leafy friends earwig-free!

Can Earwigs Infest Indoor Potted Plants?

Symptoms of Earwig Infestation in Indoor Potted Plants

Damage to Leaves and Flowers

If you notice that the leaves of your indoor potted plants are showing signs of damage, such as irregular holes or ragged edges, it may be a sign of earwig infestation. Earwigs are nocturnal insects that feed on vegetation, and they have a particular fondness for tender, young leaves and flowers. Pay close attention to any visible damage on your plants’ foliage, as it could indicate the presence of earwigs.

Presence of Droppings or Shed Skins

Another telltale sign of an earwig infestation in your indoor potted plants is the presence of droppings or shed skins. Earwigs will leave behind small, black droppings that resemble grains of pepper. Additionally, you may come across molted skins, which are a result of earwigs shedding their outer exoskeletons as they grow. If you spot either of these signs, it’s a clear indication that your plants are being plagued by earwigs.

Visible Earwigs in the Pot

The most obvious indication of an earwig infestation is actually seeing the insects themselves in your indoor potted plants. Earwigs are nocturnal creatures, so you are more likely to encounter them during the nighttime. However, if you observe earwigs crawling around your plants, particularly near the soil surface or in the plant foliage, it’s a clear sign that you have an infestation that needs attention.

Causes of Earwig Infestation in Indoor Potted Plants

Attracted by Moisture and Darkness

Earwigs are naturally drawn to damp, dark environments, making indoor potted plants an ideal habitat for them. Overly moist potting soil provides a perfect breeding ground, attracting these pests to your plants. Additionally, the tight space and reduced air circulation in indoor pots create a conducive environment for earwigs to thrive.

Contaminated Soil or Plant Material

Bringing in contaminated soil or plant material from an outdoor source is another common cause of earwig infestation in indoor potted plants. If the soil or the plants themselves are already infested with earwigs, they can easily make their way into your pots and start wreaking havoc on your indoor greenery.

Introduction through Open Windows or Doors

Earwigs can enter your indoor space through open windows, doors, or any other small openings in your home. They are highly agile and can crawl through tiny cracks and crevices. If you live in an area where earwigs are prevalent, it’s important to be mindful of open windows and doors to prevent these pests from gaining access to your indoor potted plants.

Preventing Earwig Infestation in Indoor Potted Plants

Inspect New Plants Before Bringing Indoors

Before you introduce a new plant into your indoor potted plant collection, it’s crucial to inspect it thoroughly for any signs of earwig infestation. Check the leaves, stems, and even the soil for any presence of earwigs or their shed skins. By being proactive and identifying potential infestations early on, you can prevent the spread of earwigs to your other indoor plants.

Properly Clean and Sterilize Pots and Tools

Keeping your pots and gardening tools clean and sterilized can go a long way in preventing earwig infestations. Wash your pots regularly with mild soap and warm water, ensuring that any remnants of soil or debris are thoroughly removed. When it comes to tools, wipe them down with rubbing alcohol or a mild bleach solution after each use. By maintaining a clean and sterile environment, you reduce the risk of introducing earwigs into your indoor potted plants.

Improve Plant Hygiene and Cultural Practices

Practicing good plant hygiene and implementing cultural practices can help deter earwigs from infesting your indoor potted plants. Avoid overwatering your plants, as excessive moisture attracts earwigs. Instead, water your plants at their base and allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings. Additionally, regularly remove any fallen leaves or plant debris from the pots, as these can provide hiding places for earwigs.

Natural Remedies for Earwig Infestation in Indoor Potted Plants

Introduce Beneficial Insects

One natural method to control earwig infestation is by introducing beneficial insects into your indoor ecosystem. Certain predators, such as ground beetles and centipedes, feed on earwigs and can help keep their population in check. You can attract these beneficial insects by creating a diverse and welcoming habitat for them, such as providing small hiding spaces and incorporating plants that they find attractive.

Use Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a natural substance made from fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of algae. It has a powdery texture and contains microscopic sharp edges that can physically injure and dehydrate earwigs. Apply a thin layer of diatomaceous earth on the surface of the soil in your indoor potted plants, focusing on areas where earwigs are most likely to hide. This natural remedy can be effective in deterring and eliminating earwigs from your plants.

Apply Neem Oil Solution

Neem oil is derived from the seeds of the neem tree and has been used for centuries as a natural insecticide. It works by disrupting the feeding and reproduction of insects, including earwigs. Dilute neem oil according to the instructions on the packaging and spray it on the foliage of your infested plants. Repeat this treatment every few days until the earwig infestation is under control.

Can Earwigs Infest Indoor Potted Plants?

Chemical Control of Earwig Infestation in Indoor Potted Plants

Use Insecticidal Soap

Insecticidal soaps are a popular choice for controlling earwigs in indoor potted plants. These soaps contain fatty acids that penetrate the outer shell of the earwigs, causing them to dehydrate and die. Follow the instructions on the product label and apply the insecticidal soap to the infested areas of your plants. It’s important to note that while insecticidal soap is considered safe for use in indoor gardening, it should be used sparingly and with caution.

Apply Pyrethrin-based Insecticides

Pyrethrin-based insecticides are derived from the extract of chrysanthemum flowers and are generally effective against earwigs. These insecticides attack the nervous system of earwigs, resulting in paralysis and eventual death. Carefully read and follow the instructions on the insecticide product, applying it to the affected areas of your indoor potted plants. Be sure to use these chemical treatments in a well-ventilated area and keep children and pets away from treated plants.

Consult Professional Pest Control

If the infestation is severe and natural or chemical control methods do not yield satisfactory results, it may be necessary to seek professional help. Pest control professionals have the knowledge and experience to tackle earwig infestations effectively while ensuring the safety of you and your indoor plants. They can assess the severity of the infestation and provide targeted treatments to eliminate the earwigs from your indoor potted plants.

Treating Earwig Infestation in Indoor Potted Plants

Handpicking the Earwigs

One of the simplest and most environmentally friendly methods of treating an earwig infestation is handpicking the pests. During the nighttime when the earwigs are most active, use a pair of tweezers or gloves to carefully pick them off from your plants and dispose of them in a bucket of soapy water. Repeat this process regularly to reduce the population of earwigs in your indoor potted plants.

Creating Traps

Traps can be an effective way to capture and control earwigs in your indoor potted plants. You can easily create a DIY trap by placing rolled-up newspaper or cardboard near the affected plants. Earwigs are attracted to the dark and moist environment provided by the rolled-up material, and they will seek shelter inside. Check the traps daily, and once you have captured the earwigs, either release them outside or dispose of them.

Pruning Affected Foliage

If your plants have significant damage from earwig feeding, it may be necessary to prune affected foliage. Trim off the damaged leaves and flowers, making clean cuts just above the node or joint. Removing the damaged vegetation not only improves the overall appearance of your plants but also helps reduce hiding places for earwigs and prevents the spread of any potential diseases.

Can Earwigs Infest Indoor Potted Plants?

Bringing Infested Plants Indoors

Quarantine and Inspect

When bringing potted plants back indoors after a period outdoors, it’s essential to quarantine and inspect them first. Set the plants aside in a separate area, away from your other indoor plants, for a few days. During this quarantine period, closely monitor the plants for any signs of earwig infestation. This precautionary step will prevent any potential infestations from spreading to your other plants.

Treatment before Relocating

Before you consider relocating any infested plants back indoors, it’s crucial to treat them to eliminate the earwig population. Choose the appropriate natural or chemical control method mentioned earlier and apply it thoroughly to the infested plants. Once you are confident that the earwig infestation is under control, you can safely reintroduce the treated plants back into your indoor collection.

Minimize Risks to Other Plants

To minimize the risk of introducing earwig infestations to your healthy indoor potted plants, it’s important to take preventive measures. Avoid placing your infested plants in close proximity to unaffected plants, as this can provide an opportunity for the earwigs to move from one plant to another. Implementing good plant hygiene practices and monitoring your plants regularly will help ensure the overall health and well-being of your indoor potted plants.

Monitoring and Regular Maintenance

Inspecting Plants Regularly

One of the best ways to prevent and address earwig infestations in your indoor potted plants is to inspect them regularly. Set aside some time each week to closely examine the leaves, stems, and soil of your plants for any signs of pests or damage. By catching any problems early on, you can take immediate action and prevent them from escalating into full-blown infestations.

Cleaning Up Debris and Fallen Leaves

Keeping your indoor potted plants tidy is essential in maintaining a healthy environment and deterring pests like earwigs. Regularly remove any fallen leaves, dead plant material, or debris from the pots. These can serve as hiding places and food sources for pests. By regularly cleaning up, you create an environment that is less appealing to earwigs and other unwanted visitors.

Maintaining Ideal Growing Conditions

Creating optimal growing conditions for your indoor potted plants can help them withstand and recover from earwig infestations. Ensure that your plants receive the appropriate amount of light, water, and humidity they require. Providing them with the right nutrients through proper fertilization and maintaining the ideal temperature range will promote their overall health and make them less susceptible to pests.

Seeking Professional Help for Earwig Infestations

When Infestation Is Severe

If you have tried various natural and chemical control methods without success, and the earwig infestation in your indoor potted plants continues to worsen, it may be time to seek professional help. Pest control professionals have access to specialized treatments and extensive knowledge on controlling earwig infestations. They can assess the severity of the situation and provide targeted solutions to eliminate the problem.

Identification and Treatment Assistance

If you are unsure whether your indoor potted plants are infested with earwigs or another pest, consulting with a professional can help with identification and treatment assistance. Pest control experts can accurately identify the pest in question and recommend the most appropriate and effective treatment methods for your specific situation.

Consulting with Local Extension Offices

Another valuable resource when dealing with earwig infestations in indoor potted plants is your local extension office. These offices are often connected to universities and offer a wealth of information and expertise on gardening and pest control. They can provide guidance on identifying and treating earwig infestations, as well as offer advice on preventive measures and long-term management strategies.


Earwig infestations in indoor potted plants can be frustrating, but with the right knowledge and preventive measures, you can effectively control and eliminate these pests. By being vigilant, regularly inspecting your plants, and implementing suitable natural or chemical remedies, you can ensure the health and beauty of your indoor greenery. Remember to maintain good plant hygiene, create optimal growing conditions, and seek professional help when needed. With these practices in place, you can keep your indoor potted plants free from earwig infestations and enjoy a thriving indoor garden.


Hi, I'm Pest Control, the author behind Bug Masters Online. My mission is to provide you with the ultimate guide to conquering pests and regaining control of your space. At Bug Masters Online, we understand the importance of maintaining a pest-free environment in your home or business. That's why we offer a comprehensive range of products that tackle pest infestations head-on. Our website is not just a place to purchase products – it's a hub of knowledge where you can learn about different pests, their behaviors, habitats, and effective prevention strategies. With our carefully curated selection of products, you can say goodbye to frustrating flies and pesky mice. Let's put an end to your pest problems together.